VGX 2013 News and Trailer Roundup
For all of Geoff Keighley’s pre-event hype, it sure sounds like the whole awards aspect of VGX didn’t change. According to the /r/Games live thread, seven awards were handed out during the show of VGX’s 23 total awards. At least it sounds like celebrities weren’t paraded out to promote their own stuff though it did sound like host Joel McHale was very much annoyed that he was forced to spend the whole show reading from a teleprompter verbatim.
Apart from the handful of awards and McHale doing nothing to hide the fact that he didn’t have anything to do with the jokes during the show, there was a bunch of news and announcements from the show. It’s almost like a mini convention based on the importance that publishers put on the show for making news with big announcements. So here’s a roundup of the news and trailers from VGX.
Tales from the Borderlands
Thanks to The Walking Dead, Telltale Games has found a popular niche with their license episodic point-and-click games. They opened up VGX with a new episodic game from the Borderlands universe called Tales from the Borderlands. The trailer doesn’t give much away but it does place it around Borderlands 2 with the appearance of Handsome Jack.
The game is being developed by Telltale with Gearbox providing some assets to help with development. We don’t know whether this will be closer to Borderlands or a point-and-click but I’d hazard that we’re getting a Telltale game in Borderlands clothing. Given that story isn’t Gearbox’s strong suit, it’ll be interesting to see how much story Telltale can coax out of Borderlands. The strength of a Telltale game relies on that story.
Release Date: 2014
Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition
Well, you knew that PS3 and 360 games would end up on the PS4 and XB1 before long. It looks like Tomb Raider is the first one to make that move with the Definitive Edition. I would assume the whole “Rebuilt. Remade. Reborn” tagline refers to the game being a reboot rather than the game being completely rebuilt from the ground up for the next-gen consoles. If you have a decent gaming PC, you’re probably used to the game’s more hardware intense graphics. Well, if you have an AMD GPU, you will be. Definitive will have a bunch of added stuff thrown in like multiplayer DLC, digital comics, a digital art book and the Final Hours app. Sadly, it doesn’t look like it’s coming to PC as a sort of GOTY edition of the game.
Release Date: January 28, 2014
Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze
Reggie Fils-Aime made his first appearance at the VGAs/VGX to announce that Cranky Kong would be the fourth playable character in Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze. He also showed off some new gameplay footage of the game which is only a couple of months from release.
Release Date: February 21, 2014
Well, I was wrong. Quantum Break actually is a game. That’s what happens when you talk about it in the middle of talking about TV at a console launch event. Anyway, the video above is our first look at Quantum Break in action… ish. Remedy refers to it as a combination of Alan Wake with Max Payne. To me, it looks a bit like the time powers of Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time crossed a cover-based third-person shooter. I liked it a lot more before the gameplay started looking a bit dime a dozen. Remedy is pretty good at what they do so people are going to expect a lot from this one. They really need to come through on it.
Release Date: 2014
Agents of Storm
Remedy also announced an in-development iOS game called Agents of Storm. Remedy said, “Players must create a base, build a fleet of ships, and head to battle in a 3D-rendered world.” They then referred to it as “reverse tower defense.” I call it real-time strategy. Don’t get me started on when marketing people get involved in defining games. It’s a bloody RTS. Are you guys so scared of people running frightened of a strategy game that you won’t call it what it is?
Release Date: Early 2014
South Park: The Stick of Truth
Yes, it’s still being made and we’re supposed to see it next year. It still looks and sounds like South Park which is more than we can say about most of the South Park games that preceded this one. For VGX, Obsidian and Ubisoft unveiled a look at magic attacks in South Park: The Stick of Truth. As we got a hint of in E3, magic involves farting. Only in a South Park game. Can’t wait for this one.
Release Date: March 2014
We didn’t learn anything new in specific about Destiny but we got an epic looking trailer that showed off the variety of worlds in the game, a number of different enemies, vehicle, powers and guns, and some of the music we can expect in-game. I’m still hoping that it makes its way to PC but I’m not holding my breath.
Release Date: September 9, 2014
The Kickstarter darling that suffered got some time at VGX with gameplay being shown off as Tim Schafer was interviewed by Geoff Keighley and Joel McHale. The idea was to recreate the old-school point-and-click game style of the 90s. The game will see you play two characters, Vella, a girl who decides she doesn’t want to sacrificed to a giant monster, and Shay. Elijah Wood stars as Shay along with an all-star voice cast that includes Jennifer Hale, Jack Black, Pendleton Ward and Wil Wheaton.
Release Date: January 2014 (Part 1)
Tom Clancy’s The Division was the subject of a technical featurette during VGX. We learned more about the Snowdrop engine that powers Ubisoft’s upcoming MMO third-person shooter. We got a look at a day/night cycle, lighting effects, object destruction effects, the particle effects system (which was the only truly next-gen thing I saw from their video). Sure, it looks pretty but will it look this good in action rather than in a tech demo video and how will it play? That’s what matters the most in a game.
Release Date: Late 2014
Game of Thrones
At this point, I wonder if Telltale might be biting off a bit more than it can chew. The company only has so many writers of the same calibre that wrote The Walking Dead. As I mentioned above, it’ll be the writing that will make or break Game of Thrones.
Anyway, we don’t know anything about this game apart from the fact that it’s a Game of Thrones game. How will it fit with the lore of the books or will it be closer to the TV series? Will it be set before or during the books/TV show? And who will be in it? I think these are important questions needing answering before release.
Release Date: 2014
No Man’s Sky
The only proper new announcement at VGX was No Man’s Sky from Joe Danger developer Hello Games. Even though you would consider them a small indie developer with only a couple of games under their belt, they completely stole the show at VGX with the surprise debut of No Man’s Sky.
The game features planetary and space travel and exploration that’s all procedurally generated by the game. In addition, there will be a bit of dogfighting in the game. Hello Games wanted this game to honour the science fiction of old so it should have a deep back story and characters. No release date has been announced yet and throwing my money at the screen is helping nothing.
Release Date: TBA
Techland showed off a live demo of their upcoming first-person zombie survival game Dying Light. Keighley made a point of saying that the game was being played live on a PS4 in 1080p. Along with the PS4, the game is supposed to on “current-gen, next-gen and PC.”
Dying Light looks a far cry from what Techland did with Dead Island. The graphics and zombie AI look at be a vast improvement over Dead Island. The game will have a freerunning/parkour element that’s reminiscent of Mirror’s Edge in a way. Rather than being a melee-focused FPS, Dying Light is an open world survival game that sees you spending the daylight gathering resources to survive the night portion of the game. If you told me that the devs of Dead Island were making this, I might have called you a liar. For now, I’ll admit that I’m intrigued.
Release Date: 2014
Eidos and Square Enix had a new story trailer for the upcoming Thief reboot. The game has been in development since 2009 and games that have been in development for that long tend to not come out the other side with critical acclaim. I certainly wasn’t grabbed by the visuals or story elements of this trailer.
Now, I never played the old Thief games so I have no idea if the inclusion of some supernatural elements is a change in the story for the series though the Victorian aesthetic of the game isn’t too different from the original Thief. It is still going to be a first-person stealth game but Eidos are more than willing to show of the fancy combat in this game. Like I said, I’m not sold on this but I never was on the original games either.
Release Date: February 25, 2014
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
Poor Thief. You come out with a new trailer to hype the game three months before release and then CD Projekt Red shows up and completely blows you out of the water. If there’s a killer next-gen game waiting in the wings, it’s The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. It is a multiplatform game, by the way. I know it seemed as though it would be an Xbox One exclusive but PS4 and PC users won’t be left out this time.
The new trailer didn’t show off anything in specific about the game like how the combat worked or any fancy tricks under the hood of the game. However, it did confirm that it’ll be the early leader for spectacular visuals on the next-gen consoles. Sure, Infamous: Second Son looks good but this just might be better looking. As an RPG fan, this looks like my first chance to get a hold of a next-gen RPG. Well, unless Dragon Age: Inquisition beats it to market near the end of the year.
Release Date: 2014
The hotly anticipated Microsoft exclusive (on XB1, 360 and Windows PC) had a pair of trailers to close out VGX. The crew from Respawn showed off a pair of new titan robots that you’ll find in the game in the guise of ads for titan manufacturers Hammond Robotics. The first video is of the heavier Ogre-class titan while the second video shows off the lighter, faster Stryder-class of titan robot.
It’s a nice little tech demo but I kind of liked the older gameplay videos a bit more. I like to see what we’re actually getting rather than a shiny ad. Maybe I’m in a minority, though. Still, if there’s one way for the Xbox One to claw back ground on the PS4, it’s with Titanfall.
Release Date: March 11, 2014
After going through all the VGX trailers, I have to say that the biggest winner was Hello Games whose No Man’s Sky was the breakout hit of the show. This is the one game that has everyone impressed and is going to be the big indie game of 2014. Well, it will be until the next indie darling comes along. Who saw The Stanley Parable or Gone Home or Gunpoint coming in 2013?
CD Projekt Red showed that they can do almost no wrong in the run up to the release of The Witcher 3. That’s definitely one that I’m planning to get my hands on and I haven’t even played the first two Witcher games. And the acquisition of Borderlands and Game of Thrones licenses show how big Telltale has gotten. A mid-level developer prior to The Walking Dead, they have certainly cemented themselves among the elite of the industry. Their challenge is making sure that doing four games at once isn’t biting off more than they can chew.